Denise and Roland Sidler who farm west of Bowden are living with 15 puppies and two proud Bernese Mountain Dog parents

Large litter shocks dog breeders

A Bernese mountain dog, Dakota, may be the most prolific mother of her breed in the world after giving birth to 15 little black, brown and white puppies on Oct. 10.



A Bernese mountain dog, Dakota, may be the most prolific mother of her breed in the world after giving birth to 15 little black, brown and white puppies on Oct. 10.

“She had two puppies by herself, and then for three hours nothing, so we rushed to Innisfail Vet Clinic and they made an X-ray and they said maybe seven more to come. And then after a C-section there were 15 live puppies. It’s amazing,” said Denise Sidler, who breeds the dogs with husband, Roland, west of Bowden.

The couple have bred the dogs for years, with 11 pups considered a large litter and five to nine offspring considered average. The 15, all healthy and now weighing around four kilograms, shocked Denise and other breeders she has contacted in Canada and Switzerland, where the breed originates.

She said the veterinary staff in Innisfail did an excellent job in birthing the whole litter, as with C-section births it is normal for two or three of the puppies to die in the process.

For the last month, the young pups have been providing the Sidlers with a rousing early morning wake-up call, said Denise.

“They all want to be fed and then it gets really noisy,” she said with a laugh.

In the olden days in Switzerland, the dogs were used to transport milk cans on wagons and were good at rounding up cattle. Nowadays, Denise said they perform well in obedience and show circuits and are a patient dog that provide good companionship for those with disabilities.

While not one of the more common breeds in Canada, the Sidlers have had no trouble selling the puppies at a $1,700 price tag. Buyers have been secured for all but three of the pups, which can formally be sold once they are eight weeks old on Dec. 5.

The Sidlers had the fecund father, Branco vom Zurihorn, imported from their home country of Switzerland nearly two years ago.

Dakota came from Heidiland Kennel, also based in the Bowden area. Denise said because of the C-section birth, the chances of Dakota having a litter next year are 50/50, but the couple has another female who will hopefully be ready to deliver in 2014.

And when that happens, Denise said a smaller set of siblings will suffice.

“(It’s a) one in a million chance to have 15. When we have six, it will be good. As long as they are healthy, then you’re happy. I don’t expect again to have so many. It’s a wonder.”

mfish@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Red Deer city council aims to force larger non-profits to become more accountable

New bylaw defines which not-for-profits must pay for a business licence

Red Deer city council will seek public input on portable signage March 4

Council gave initial approval to retaining 100-metre separation distance

Smaller, more affordable, lots wanted in Red Deer’s Evergreen neighbourhood

Council approves first reading of requested lot-size changes

RDC’s new name to be unveiled in February

The next big milestone for Red Deer College is a new name,… Continue reading

Lacombe considering licensing cats

Council is expected to take a look at cat potential licensing regulations next month

2-for-1: Total lunar eclipse comes with supermoon bonus

On Sunday night, the moon, Earth and sun lined up to create the eclipse, which was visible throughout North and South America

Opinion: Faith in immigration must be preserved

Canada has a deserved reputation for extending its arms to newcomers, but… Continue reading

Olympian Adam van Koeverden wins federal Liberal nomination in Ontario riding

MILTON, Ont. — Former Olympic flag-bearer Adam van Koeverden will be carrying… Continue reading

World champion Osmond says it’s “really nice” not to know what future holds

SAINT JOHN, N.B. — Kaetlyn Osmond has a world title, Olympic medals… Continue reading

World economy forecast to slow in 2019 amid trade tensions

For Canada, the IMF’s estimate for growth in 2019 was 1.9 per cent, down from expected global growth of 3.5 per cent

Timberlake pops in on patients at Texas children’s hospital

DALLAS — Justin Timberlake has pulled some sunshine from his pocket for… Continue reading

UK police speak to Prince Philip about not wearing seatbelt

LONDON — British police have spoken with Prince Philip after the husband… Continue reading

‘Gotti’ leads Razzie nominations, Trump up for worst actor

The nominations were announced on Monday, Jan. 21 with some movies earning up to six nominations

Curtain rising Sunday night on total lunar eclipse

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — The celestial curtain will be rising soon on… Continue reading

Most Read